“You sure it was him?” Ray asked.
“Bob decided to bring me to work that night and we were hanging out back until it was time for the band to take the stage. I was with Bob in the sound area, when I spotted him at the bar. He was so wasted. It killed me to see him like that and know I caused it.”
“You didn’t cause anything, he wasn’t strong enough not to or had the want enough to call his sponsor. Did you talk to him?”
“I was a mess, so I went to the ladies room to clean myself up. I didn’t want to look like that when I confronted him. When I got out I made a beeline for the bar, but he was gone. I looked around and then I saw Mikey and Frank dragging him out of the place. That’s when I made my decision.” I looked in his eyes as mine started tearing up, “I’m done with Gerard. I can’t be with him if he’s going to be like that I have Emily to think of.”
“How’s that been going?”
“Yeah these past few months have been incredible it’s been the light in all the darkness. She loves Bob so much and I think that has factored into my decision too.”
“I’m gonna try to make a go of it with Bob. He sweet, he’s caring, he loves Emily to death, he’s stable and good for her.”
“I didn’t hear that you loved him.”
“I’m sure if I gave it a chance that I will,” I knew it was a shitty answer but Ray already knows that I love Bob as a friend and right now I need a father for Emily. I also know I’ll feel guilty as hell taking her away from him.
“So you’re telling me if Gee walked in that door and asked you to take him back, you wouldn’t.”
“No.” I tried saying with all the confidence in the world. Problem is who was I trying to convince? Him or me. “Enough of me, how are you hanging in there?”
“Honestly, I wasn’t ready to have Christa move in. I love her a lot, I just wasn’t ready to take our relationship to that point. But with Gee leaving what can I do, I needed someone to help pay the bills?”
“I’m sorry Ray.”
“Don’t be things are getting better it’s not like it wasn’t eventually going to happen. I guess I wanted to get engaged, and live together when we got married. I’m kinda old fashioned like that. On top of it all the rents weren’t too pleased either. But what’s done is done.”
“Why do you have your guitar case here?”
Ray looked down ashamed almost, “Bob knows someone who wants to buy it.”
“You’re selling your guitar?” I was almost in tears.
“I need the money Lys.”
“I’ll give you the money.”
“It’s not just that. I don’t play anymore. I really wanted to only play with Gerard, Mikey and Frank.”
“And what about Matt?”
“Matt’s a fuck up.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. He smiled at me and said, “It’s good to see you laughing. Where’s Bob any way?”
“Dropping Emily off.”
“What’s going on with that anyway?”
“She has a psych evaluation next week and then a custody hearing the week after. You’ll be there right?”
“Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
I couldn’t help but think I wish Gerard felt that way.
Frank and I hated the new guitarist. It’s not that he wasn’t good, he was. He’s just an ass and wants to take over the band. He’s had a couple of good fights with Frank leaving them both bruised and swollen. I think that when we’re done with the tour I’m hoping Frank and I can convince Gee to get rid of both he and Matt. I hope so.
I wish I knew what happened with Ray and Gee. But Gee’s not talking and he forbids me and Frank from talking to Ray. He and Matt have a name for Ray they call him ‘Ray the Betray’. The bits and pieces I have heard it has to do with the night Patrick died. The guilt that I have repressed is coming back to me. If they only knew what really happened that afternoon. But I’m afraid to tell them what happened. I’m afraid to lose my brother.
“Look like your brother’s getting action again tonight,” said Dan the new lead guitarist to Mikey. “Which sucks for the rest of us because we can’t get in the van.”
Mikey looked sadly at his brother Dan was right after every show he picks some random girl from the crowd. He then takes them to the back of the van. None of them dare go back there, let’s face it no one wanted to admit how far down Gee had sunk since he found out the truth about Patrick’s killer.
Gee brought his latest pick to the back of the van. She started to undress.
“What the fuck are you doing?” asked Gerard.
“Well when a lead singer asks you to the back of their van, it usually means one thing. You’re not my first you know.”
“I don’t want that,” Gerard slurred. He then took out his drawing pad and started to draw.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m drawing you.”
“Oh,” said the girl and she smiled and posed.
“Do you want to take my clothes off any way and you can draw me in the nude.”
“I just want to draw your face.”
She didn’t pay attention and stripped down anyway. Gee never took his eyes off the drawing pad. Every so often he looked at the girl.
“I’m done,” he said taking a deep breath. Was this the one that would break the pattern.
He flipped the pad to show the girl. “You need to go to art school because that looks nothing like me. Maybe the hair and the chin but that’s all. Are we going to do it or what?”
Gee shook his head and the girl got dressed in a huff. As she got out of the van she screamed, “You’re a lousy fuck.”
Gee looked at the picture he drew along with all the others he drew while on this tour. She was right it wasn’t her. But he did have a breakthrough at least it was her chin. He looked at the picture he drew over a year ago, the night she came back into his life, and again compared it to the new drawing as he did every other night and knew he couldn’t draw anyone but Alyssa. He wanted this tour to be over so bad and wanted to apologize, and talk things over. He just wanted to find his way home and feel her in his arms again.
Two days later at the Howell home
Lawrence walked by his daughter’s room and listened as she talked to her teddy bear.
“I love Mommy and Daddy, but I love Uncle Bob and Aunt Alyssa more. I always have fun there and it doesn’t feel bad there. It always feel bad here. I hate that Mommy and Daddy are always fighting and Mommy ends up crying. I want live with Uncle Bob and Aunt Alyssa more than anything in the world. Except I’ll really miss daddy, he makes me feel loved and special. Sometimes I wish Bob would.”
He knew Sarah had been upset at how happy Emily had been after coming home from her weekends with Bob and Alyssa. He wanted to keep the peace because now her father was getting upset at him too. He needed to keep Emily here. Not only that he was a wreck about the psyche report, he knew they would figure out about his special time and immediately take her away. But now his little girl just gave him the ammunition he needed to keep his wife happy and him out of trouble.
He knocked sweetly on her door, “Emily sweetheart, I couldn’t help hearing what you told your teddy.”
“Are you mad?” asked the eight year old with her head hanging down.
“No I want to help you. I want you to be happy. You just need to tell the nice man you’re meeting with tomorrow. How Bob loves you like I love you.”
“But he doesn’t.”
“They don’t need to know that. If you want to live with Uncle Bob, you will have to tell them how special Bob treats you.”
“But that’s lying.”
“Sometimes we have to lie to get the things we really want.”
“What about Mommy, won’t she be sad?”
“I’ll make sure Mommy is happy once you’re gone.”
Lawrence was about to leave then he turned around, “It would be really good if you don’t tell them that we have our special time.”
Emily thought about it, Alyssa said it was okay to lie to protect someone and now Daddy said it was okay to lie if you really want something. I really want to live with Uncle Bob and Aunt Alyssa.
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